A tussle between bedroom candor and soaring, polished arrangements has resulted in Brooklyn five-piece Here We Go Magic’s metamorphosis from an outfit occupying the nooks and crannies of psychedelic circles to a glossy collective whose recent efforts have led to performances everywhere from Bonnaroo to Glastonbury—where Thom Yorke praised the group as his favorite act of the festival.
Live, Luke Temple and company are hard to beat—explaining why Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich jumped to produce their fourth release after catching a particularly rousing set. Avoiding an overly rehearsed vibe by taking the time to improvise with reconstructed arrangements—pasting together newer, unpolished material with well-received offerings off LPs like 2010’s Pigeons—the band treats each performance as an influx of art.
Melding their own idiosyncratic sensibilities with Godrich’s Radiohead-famed expertise, A Different Ship exudes the same barely-above-water emotionality of the group’s past releases, while turning up the volume on Temple’s falsetto vocals.
The record opens with a percussion-heavy intro—flecked with spectral whistles and warped vocals—that splices together the more eerie qualities of an abandoned shipyard, before leading into the poignant swirls of “Hard to Be Close.”
HWGM’s clutch qualities lie in their ability to deliver cutting-edge and electronic-tinged recordings, without sacrificing honest, moving melodies. The best example of this is found in the equally enjoyable “Make Up Your Mind” and “How Do I Know.” While the former showcases Temple’s vocals as a secondary chant—blanketed with start-to-finish synth, guitar, and vocal loops—the latter listens like a cheerfully strummed and painfully honest love song.
A start-to-finish listen, A Different Ship’s tracks dance between one another with a lustrous ease. Opened by a collection of shipyard clamors and finished with the contorted wailings of its title track, the record is equal parts spontaneity and calculated charm.